From author to master of her own domain
Carol uses her site to blog, and let people know about her books and editorial services.
Carol, tell us about yourself:
I’m an editor and ghostwriter, and I write the “WRITE IN THE ZONE” blog. I’m the author of Chasing Grace: A Novel of Odd Redemption, The Soul of Selling, and Creativity on Demand: Write in the Zone on a Deadline
Where did you start?
When I first came in contact with Site Setup Kit, I had three sites:
- www.carolcostello.net was a one-pager about my ghostwriting and editorial services that I had put together myself on a bare-bones platform about 8 years earlier—basically a business card on the internet. That platform was about to go out of business, so I had to remake the site somewhere.
- www.soulofselling.com was multi-pager on the same dying platform, also done by me about 8 years ago, and featured not only my book, The Soul of Selling, but related speaking, consulting, and coaching services.
- www.chasinggrace.net was a WordPress site that I hired someone to put up for me late last year. It was a terrible, terrible experience—expensive, unpleasant, and I didn’t really know what I was doing or get the site I wanted.
I had researched internet marketing enough to know that I wanted to blog, and that it should be on WordPress, and had even attended a very confusing WordPress “Get Started” seminar. I had built my earlier sites with some ease, but didn’t do well with WordPress. It just seemed too complicated, with too many variables, and I was new to blogging anyway. That’s when I threw up my hands and hired the web designer for www.chasinggrace.net.
That miserable experience confirmed what I already knew but didn’t want to admit: I wanted to be able to control/change/fiddle with/update the site myself, even if I had to invest some time and humility in a learning curve. When I saw a sentence that cried out to be better, I wanted to open up the site, fix it, and be up and running again in 3 minutes—not call a webmaster, struggle with timing and communication, and pay that person.
I am not techie, but I enjoy playing around with color, am willing to follow instructions, got used to crying over learning curves when I put Chasing Grace up on POD, Smashwords, and Kindle platforms, and was willing to invest some time and energy to get the result I wanted. I wanted to manage my own site/blog.
I looked around for ways to learn WordPress. Some teachers were too fast and techie and young. Others were too slow and disorganized. Everybody seemed to want to sign me up for a “membership” program. The sales trainer in me felt like they all wanted to do it “fast and dirty,” bank the check, and leave some droppings on their site that I could either figure out or not but they didn’t much care.
When I heard about Site Setup Kit and poked around at it, I had a very good feeling about Wendy and Pamela personally and about their approach. They seemed sensible, open, knowledgeable, and sincere. I liked all the screenshots in the free webinar they did, and could tell they really wanted to open up WordPress for people. I loved that the Genesis Prose theme was included in the cost. I liked the fact that I could work at my own pace, and email them if I needed help. Not too fast, not too slow, organized, available, and reasonably priced. Site Setup Kit was “just right.”
So I started from scratch, beginning with www.carolcostello.net and expanded it to include not only my ghostwriting and editorial services, but also a blog and my books, Chasing Grace: A Novel of Odd Redemption, The Soul of Selling, and Creativity on Demand: Write in the Zone on a Deadline.
Next in line: www.soulofselling.com and www.chasinggrace.net.
What was the most challenging part of putting together your new site?
The most challenging part of putting together my site has been just not knowing stuff. I Googled most things I didn’t know—YouTube has a demo for almost everything—or else talked to more techie friends, or asked Wendy and Pamela.
What advice do you have for people who are about to start working on their websites?
My advice would be to remember that you don’t have to do it all at one time, or even in the first month or year. Your site is an evolving process as you learn about internet marketing in general and WordPress in particular—sometimes just by doing, making mistakes, and fixing them. You will always, always be spiffing your site and adding new things.
Relax, take a deep breath, Google the problem, and remember that the good news is that you aren’t calling and paying a webmaster each time a problem comes up. You’re becoming a better and better problem-solver yourself, and that’s kind of fun. I’m always amazed when I go to places like my authors’ group and listen to people talk about this kind of stuff. I’m flabbergasted at how much I DO know and how much I have learned.
Any parting words of wisdom?
Site Setup Kit is a fantastic tool for people who really want to own their WordPress sites and are willing to invest some time and energy in the learning process. It’s an ongoing resource as well as an instructional platform. I think Wendy and Pamela are committed to making it better and better, and that their attitude is that the better their product and their relationships with clients, the more successful they will be. That’s good for everyone.
Many of the skills I’ve learned transfer to other areas. For instance, I used what I learned about making a custom header (a really fun process, and much, much easier than I had imagined) to create the cover for Creativity on Demand.